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November 8, 1965

Teen-agers and Venereal Disease: The Threat to Our Youth

Author Affiliations

From the Jackson Park Hospital, Chicago.

JAMA. 1965;194(6):617-619. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090190039011

Messages on venereal disease are usually presented by officials in the field of public health, and commonly go unheeded. This is a message from a private, solo general practitioner and presents the viewpoint of one busily engaged and concerned. The statistics used are from sources publicly available, and none are new. No new information is offered. No epidemiologist or statistician is trying to sway you. Only a practicing physician is delivering this indictment, hoping that you, also a practicing physician, will take note. The problem is critical.

Nationally, 118,247 cases of syphilis were reported in the fiscal year 1964. Of these, 22,733 were primary or secondary. These figures easily spell a major socioeconomic problem. A conservative estimate from government sources would make the primary-secondary cases three times as great as reported. From my experiences during the past six years, I would project the figure still higher. The true reported rate

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